Charging a number of Jewish religious students with practicing witchcraft, the Nazi authorities in occupied Lithuania staged a “witchcraft” trial on the public square in the town of Havaredok and sentenced the accused youths to burning at the stake, it is reported in a number of German newspapers published in Vilna, Kaunas and Bialystok made available here today.
The Polish Catholic Archbishop Jalbrzykowski, prelate of the Vilna district, who witnessed these inquisitions and attempted to intervene for the victims, was arrested by the Nazis when, after defending the Yeshivah students at their trial, he issued a pastoral letter to all churches in his diocese ridiculing the charges of “sorcery” levelled against Jewish youths. He is being held in a concentration camp at Marienpol, near Vilna.
The trial was staged by the Nazis in an effort to inflame the Lithuanian, Byelorussian and Polish population against the Jews. The Nazi newspapers in Vilna, Kaunas and Bialystok published long reports describing the “Jewish sorcerers” and the details of the trial, and stating that the Yeshivah students were sentenced to be burned alive because “the trial exposed the very character of the Jews.”
Members of the Lithuanian Soviet Government now in Russia today published a “Black Book” on the Nazi atrocities against Jews in occupied Lithuania. The document contains detailed descriptions of how the Jews were massacres by Nazi soldiers in the towns of Verzhobolovo, Volkovishki, Polangen, Neustadt, Kaunas, Ponievezh, Shavli and others.
In Ponevezh, the “Black Book” reports, hundreds of Jews were driven into an overheated bathhouse and kept there until they had all suffocated. In Shavli the Hitlerites drove 300 Jewish youths to forced labor in the fields and then executed them when their task was completed.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.